By Kelvey Vander Hart and Shane Vander Hart
(Boone, IA) U.S. Senator Joni Ernst’s 3rd Annual Roast and Ride took place at the Central Iowa Expo in Boone, Iowa on Saturday. The event headlined Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Congressman Steve King (R-IA).
The event kicked off at the Big Barn Harley-Davidson dealership in Des Moines with a motorcycle ride led by Ernst herself.
The ride had over 300 pre-registered motorcyclists, with later estimates coming in at closer to 500 riders. Winding through Iowa, the ride route was 49 miles long, and the money raised through registrations will be going to Hope for the Warriors, a national nonprofit dedicated to helping post-9/11 military and military families.
The riders left right before noon and came riding in at the event site a little after one o’clock. As they tumbled through the Expo, the crowd was electric; when asked if they loved Ernst, the riders all were quick to rev their engines and cheer. Greeting them as they came in were Scott, Reynolds, and Grassley.
Scott quickly took to the stage, thanking the crowd for having him here in Iowa and reminding those listening of the powerful, conservative women Iowa should be continually proud of, referring to Reynolds and Ernst.
“The GOP is the grand opportunity party. We are the future of America. I have learned first hand that America is a nation of second chances,” Scott noted.
He shared about his childhood growing up in a single-parent household and the challenges he had in school. “But I had a conservative mentor who taught me the value of persuing the American dream, who taught me the hard work ethic that produces good results,” he added.
Grassley was the next speaker. Speaking of President Donald Trump, Grassley said, “I hope that people are kind of shocked that we have a President, or anyone running for office, who ran on a platform and actually stand on that platform. In every respect that the Constitution allows or the law allows, President Trump is trying to deliver on those and you’ve seen not only the delivery of what he can do as an individual, but you have seen him sign 14 resolutions of disapproval where we have rescinded regulations from the previous administration that were not good for the economy.”
Addressing Iowa’s new Governor Kim Reynolds, Grassley said, “There is no doubt in my mind that a person who served with Governor Branstad for six-and-a-half years and has been with him on most everything they have been involved in, she is very much prepared to carry on the good government that we’ve had for the last six-and-a-half years and under Governor Branstad for twenty-two years. She will do an excellent job.”
He spoke about the need for reform in Washington, reminding the crowd that, “We have 8 years of broken promises and government overreach from the previous administration to fix.”
Next, making an entrance on a Harley Davidson (with Secret Service trying to keep up behind him and Ernst at his side) was Vice President Mike Pence.
Pence took to the stage amidst much cheering and applause and congratulated Iowa on being leaders in the national sweep that made the election of the Trump/Pence ticket a historic one. He talked about some of the things the Trump administration has accomplished since being inaugurated, declaring, “President Donald Trump has brought America BACK, and the world knows it.”
Pence continued to talk about the efforts being made to make America safe, prosperous, and great again, and how Iowa’s conservative leaders in D.C. are a large part of that fight: “President Trump has been working tirelessly with Iowa’s conservative leaders in Washington to keep the promises made.”
He continued to discuss things like tax cuts, repealing red tape regulations, the fight to repeal Obamacare, and spoke to Trump pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord. “How great is it to have a President who is more concerned with Des Moines than Denmark?” he asked the crowd. Pence reminded everyone that the United States is a leader in the development of renewable energy and that we will continue to make improvements without being tethered by a lopsided, globalist agreement.
Ernst gave remarks following Pence’s departure. She thanked the grassroots for the Republican gains seen in Iowa and at the federal level. She thanked Grassley for being a role model for the younger senators.
She said her biggest passion is servicemen and women and veterans.
“We need to make sure that we have an administration that understands how important our military members are, and believe me they do, they do,” Ernst said.
“When it comes to matters of the globe whether it is a nefarious Iran, whether it is an ever-expanding China, whether it is a very dangerous North Korea, whether it is a threat of terrorism from ISIS, you can better believe folks that this administration understands the threats that are out there in this world and why it is so important that the United States remains a global leader and a strong, stabalizing force around this world. Because of this administration folks we will be that stablizing force around this globe protecting our interests here at home,” she added.
Reynolds spoke next. Recognizing that she has big shoes to fill following Governor Branstad she said, “I am going to put on my heels or I am going to put on my cowboy boots, and I am going to work hard every single day on behalf of Iowans.”
She praised the grassroots. “Thank you, thank you in this last election for being a united voice, for believing in America’s greatness. Greatness that is rooted in limited government, freedom, personal responsibility, principled leadership, strong families and a society that values human life. Elections matter and that was never more evident than in this last election cycle,” she said.
“I not only want to thank you for standing up and saying, ‘enough is enough;’ you were going to work hard to make sure this country got turned around and was headed in the right direction. Not only did you stand up, but you showed up and because you did we are going to get this country back on track and we are going to continue to move Iowa in the right direction so don’t let up. We need you to keep fighting every single day,” she added.
Congressman Steve King (R-IA) closed the program for the event. He noted there were positive changes in Washington, DC, but they haven’t gone far enough.
King said that Iowa now may have the strongest pro-life governor that they have ever had referring to Reynolds comments about the value of human life. King noted he has be working on that issue as well.
“I have introduced a heartbeat bill. You have seen the billboards out there that say, ‘abortion stops a beating heart.’ You know if you stopped a heart, you stopped a life. We’ve long argued that life begins at the moment of conception – innocent unborn, unique gift, a miracle from God. The legislation I introduced says this, if you are going to commit an abortion you shall check for a heartbeat. If a heartbeat can be detected the baby is protected. We will soon be at a hundred cosponsors on that legislation which means it is likely to get a hearing this year,” he updated the audience.
Prior to the program, Scott and Ernst spoke to the press. You can watch below:
You can view pictures from the event below: